feature rebuilt and re-architectured the structure of the client’s databases to help them build a forecasting mechanism for their manufacturing plan.
"I know what they're working on, and they know what we're working on. It's a very strong collaboration."
The partnership between the client and feature was truly award-winning; together, they produced tools that received compliments on usability and gained internal recognition. The client was pleased with the agency’s communication and expertise.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What business challenge were you trying to address with feature?
We were looking to build a forecasting mechanism for our manufacturing plan.
Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.
In the very beginning, it was more of a test between the two of us just to see if we were a good match. When they came in, the project was a pilot to see if feature could develop it, if we worked well together, and if we could incorporate it into some of these other tools we already had and make it work, which they did.
We were working in conjunction with Florida State University with some graduate students, and we defined some interesting algorithms for forecasting. We needed a software partner that could actually take those algorithms and code them into a working model with a way to view it.
That project blossomed into actually retooling much of the structure of our databases. We found the structure we were saving data wasn't correct. It needed to be rebuilt and re-architectured, and feature took care of that. It grew from just that simple forecast project into more of a complete visibility tool being on top of our data as well as re-engineering the data underneath it.
How did you come to work with feature?
We're pretty connected in the Jacksonville [Florida] area, and they came highly recommended from another partner that we used for contract employees.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
It's about $350,000 year to date.
What is the status of this engagement?
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has an award every year. We won an award for collaboration between feature, Beaver Street Fisheries, and Florida State University, the ability to share information across three organizations that were somewhat remote because Florida State is in Tallahassee, about two and a half hours from us. There's been recognition within the company as far as usability too. We re-engineered some old tools to get much more user satisfaction and much more internal recognition.
How did feature perform from a project management standpoint?
From a project management perspective, they actually hold us to task even though we're the customer. They're very quick to push back and say, "In agreement, for us to accomplish these next three or four iterations of tasks, this is what Beaver Street has to accomplish, this is what feature has to accomplish." They've introduced us to some development methodologies using Scrum, for example. They had to coach us through it, teach us how to use it, and get us up and running just so we could fall into more of a structured development model. They've brought our internal team up to their standards as well.
What distinguishes feature from other providers?
One is they're local. I think that's a huge plus. One thing that sets feature apart is that they take the time to understand not just what we do but how we do it and what skill sets our people have, our methodologies and our policies. Then, they try to conform to how we operate so they don't deliver something that we can't support, and that they don't push a solution on us that's going to break. Even if that means they have to dumb down that solution, it still fits our business.
Is there anything feature could have improved or done differently?
I don't think so. One of the things that we, more than most outsource companies, probably communicate two or three times a week. I know what they're working on, and they know what we're working on. It's a very strong collaboration.